Janu and Vedu are neatly dressed in their school uniforms, but they’re not going off to school. They’re at home, tensely watching the screen of a mobile phone—firmly mounted on a tripod. In India, as in other places, the pandemic has meant that millions of children are being educated online. Janu and Vedu are two of them.
While they do their assignments, debut filmmaker Akshay Pradip Ingle focuses mostly on the reactions of the kids—sometimes they’re serious, other times inquisitive and at times a touch rebellious. Every so often Ingle asks them a brief question. Can Janu do arithmetic? What are Vedu’s thoughts about the future? Their parents look on with great interest and support—their father teaches online himself.
What starts as a look at a new kind of learning gradually evolves into an uninhibited and intimate portrait of an Indian family, the type of portrait we don’t often have a chance to see. Mahalle’s School – Family Going Live won an award from the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, an organization that champions independent filmmakers and documentaries.